Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Blood Chemistries

Many of us know that a “normal” blood chemistry can reveal things about a patient’s health. It is almost intuitive; if a value is near the end of a range, it may have more significance than one that is in the middle of the range. If an MCV above 100 is abnormal, it stands to reason that a value of 99 isn’t great. An individual with an MCV of 99 may have a health issue that a person with an MCV of 89 does not have. It is true, the person with an MCV above 92 (well within the normal range), very likely is deficient in B12 or folic acid.

It turns out that looking at lab values in that manner actually has some pretty good science behind it. Dr. Harry Eidenier has literally spent decades studying blood chemistries. He worked with DR FURDA on the biochemical biopsy, which was a project that looked at patients, their symptoms and their blood chemistries. After looking at over 10,000 blood chemistries, between 1980 and the present, Dr. Eidenier and Dr. Furda were able to make some very important distinctions.

There are some clinical gems that are easily seen in a “normal” blood chemistry. We already mentioned the connection between MCV and the need for B12 or folic acid. If the patient experiences fatigue or CRS (can’t remember stuff) along with the high MCV, you have a very good chance of helping them by giving between three and six B12-2000 lozenges per day. Another value that can be interpreted in a straightforward manner is transaminase (either ALT or AST). Normally we look at these for liver issues (ALT) or, muscle, cardiac or liver issues (AST)—and we only look at elevated levels. If, however, the levels are below 10, the patient may well be B6 deficient. Similarly, we look for elevated LDH levels and don’t realize that a low LDH may mean a zinc deficiency.

Some of the patterns are complex—this was a ten year study. If you are looking for hypochlorhydra, for instance, you could look at total protein, phosphorus, BUN, total globulin and possibly MCV. Diagnosing the particulars (pituitary, or a problem converting T4 to T3, etc.) of hypothyroidism, can also involve several values.

Fortunately, there is a computer program that will arrange the values into physiologic normals and look at these complex problems for you. The best news is that it is inexpensive (not much more than a single month’s cable bill for an internet/movie junkie).

In health care (and in any other field, really) there are those who practice for the love of their art or for a higher calling. Dr. Harry Eidenier has produced a body of work that can transform your practice. He has put his findings into a manual that not only helps you to interpret blood chemistries, but gives you very effective nutrient protocols for your patients. He has a computer program that will make the whole interpretation process easy and it is available for a price that is so low that you will be embarrassed to be getting so much for so little. So many entrepreneurs do a small bit of clinical work and whole a lot of work marketing and selling a product—expecting you to pay through the nose. Others do good work and want to enjoy a modest reward for sharing their information.

Also, there is some pretty good science involved in these values. They did not merely change the normals by one standard deviation, or they will fudge the values produced by someone else. This is original work. Dr. Eidenier has also begun to teach about blood chemistries again. His seminar is one of the most clinically valuable learning experiences you will ever have. For more information about the manual, the blood chemistry program and future seminars, e-mail us at . It is only available to licensed health professionals.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Paradigm that isn't Worth Twenty Cents

Health care costs in the United States exceed $2 trillion per year, which represents more than 15% of our GDP. Most industrialized nations only spend about 10% of their GDP on health care. The US ranks 15th out of 19 nations with regard to preventable deaths. It is estimated that 115 per 100,000 people die who would have survived if timely and appropriate medical care was administered. France scored highest in this category, with only 75 deaths per 100,000. The US ranks last in infant mortality, with 7 deaths per 1,000 births. The top three countries have 2.7 deaths per 1,000 births—less than half our number. We are at the bottom of the list in life expectancy. American children miss more school for illness than the children from the other industrialized nations. Fewer than half of American adults receive the recommended screening tests appropriate for their age and sex. Preventable hospital admissions for chronically ill patients (e.g.; those with asthma or diabetes) were twice as high compared to the nations at the top of the list. The rate of readmission of Medicare patients ranges from 14-22%.
We spend more on health care and we get much less than other industrialized nations. More utilization of natural health care would reduce this bill. For example, there are a number of studies that demonstrate that asthmatics will have fewer attacks and fewer hospitalizations if they eat a diet that is high in fresh produce and essential fatty acids. Studies have also shown that supplementation with antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium have all benefited patients with asthma. Such recommendations are not given in medical offices. The reasons given ignoring natural health care include, the studies are too small and inconclusive, a cure has not been proven, and "vitamins don't cure disease".
Treatments for diseases are usually singular: we give Ritalin to children with ADD and ADHD--not essential fatty acids, exercise, or a diet that is free of sugar and additives. We don't even augment the drug therapy with natural approaches that are researched and show promise. Large follow-up studies are usually not performed to "prove" the efficacy of the natural treatments. Even though natural health care treatments are low-risk and high-gain; doctors tend to want them to be proven by large studies.
The drug companies buy ads in the medical research journals, they also endow medical schools with money and they sponsor post-graduate education for doctors. They don't necessarily have to suppress any research (although that has been done in the past). What they have been able to do is create this single treatment paradigm--it is an approach favors drug therapies. Doctors don't give vitamin C and fish oil to asthmatics--even if it would improve the health of these patients. It is not a "cure", but it does improve symptoms and reduce hospitalizations. They have been taught not to do this--their entire education, from medical school to the grave, is influenced by the drug companies. CoQ10 can help prevent heart attacks, there are supplements that can speed recovery from surgery and shorten hospital stays, and there are many other natural health approaches that can cut our medical costs. Unfortunately they are largely ignored by the medical community. Supplementation does not fit their paradigm.